Group of Champions On Mission to Counter Climate mis & dis-information Online

Group of Champions On Mission to Counter Climate mis & dis-information Online

Climate mis and disinformation is a big reason why the UN, in collaboration with Purpose, has been running Verified for Climate - a global communications program to address complex crises

Not everything you read online about climate is true. Climate denialists have planted a good deal of disinformation to confuse and delay climate action. And many unsuspecting people share disinformation unknowingly.

Have you heard the recent rumors about cloud seeding causing torrential rainfall in the UAE this month?

If so, you’ve experienced climate misinformation. Experts have confirmed the heavy rains were caused by climate change; however, the lack of scientific evidence around the rumors of cloud seeding as the cause confirms this theory is just another example of rampant misinformation inciting confusion in today’s rapid digital information age.

Climate mis and disinformation is a big reason why the United Nations, in collaboration with Purpose, has been running Verified for Climate - a global communications program to address complex crises like climate change by countering the spread of mis and disinformation.

The initiative, supported by TikTok, Rockefeller Foundation, and Fortescue, aims to reach key audiences with accurate climate information to counter harmful narratives that block a swift transition to renewable energy.

Melissa Fleming, UN Under Secretary General of Global Communications said: "Together, we’re confident we can help to turn the tide in the climate information narrative and power communications that spur action to secure a liveable future for the planet. There is no time to lose."

Led by a diverse network of climate experts known as Verified Champions, this initiative encompasses voices from the UAE, Brazil, and Spain, including those directly affected by climate change.

Their collective expertise, drawn from scientific, empirical, and firsthand knowledge and experience, is changing the online discourse on climate mis- and disinformation on the TikTok platform.

Helena Lersch, VP of Public Policy for Emerging Markets and Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at TikTok said: "At TikTok, we are continuously finding ways to empower our community with authoritative information on topics that matter to them, including climate literacy.

"Through this initiative, we're proud to partner with a team of experts to further inform and inspire our global community, bound by our shared goal of raising awareness around important climate topics and finding sustainable solutions."

Verified Champions are dedicated to shifting narratives and enhancing access to accurate climate information through original content. Their impact is tangible, as they strive to educate viewers and counter misinformation, contributing significantly to the platform's efforts to promote climate awareness and action.

As of April 2024, the campaign has garnered over 280 million impressions and over 800 thousand engagements through 160+ original TikTok videos full of climate stories, facts, and practical guidance.

The extreme weather that has hit Dubai and places all over the globe underscores the critical need for climate action amidst escalating greenhouse gas emissions and extreme weather patterns.

With over 9.6 million internet users in the UAE, and 32% logging on in search of news, it is increasingly important to differentiate fake and real climate news.

For social media users globally, navigating a mis and disinformation-dense online environment full of climate denialists is not only disorienting, it is also hindering the critical action needed to address our global climate crisis.

In recognizing the pivotal role of communication in climate advocacy, initiatives like Verified Champions work to prioritize integrity in climate communications to foster informed action.

Pallavi Santhapuram, Verified Champion from UAE said: "As a sustainability advocate, I have strived to reach out to people with the benefits and urgency of living sustainably. When I got the opportunity to join this campaign, I had no hesitation or second thoughts about it.

"I was very happy to learn about this initiative to educate people on climate change. It is very fulfilling to contribute to this campaign and take this message forward to as many people as possible."

By curbing the dissemination of false narratives, Verified Champions pave the way for climate facts to garner greater attention and influence, particularly within online spaces like TikTok where misinformation thrives.

Collaborations with organizations like the UN enable platforms to redirect users searching for climate misinformation to credible sources. Reports such as the one developed with CAAD provide valuable insights into preserving the veracity of climate communications, underscoring the ongoing effort to ensure accurate information guides collective action in addressing climate change.

Join the campaign, and help Verified Champions spread accurate climate information on TikTok by following the #VerifiedChampions hashtag.

Sustainability Middle East News